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Julian Castro to speak at DPO gala

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, a potential presidential candidate, will speak April 27 at a fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Oregon.

COURTESY PHOTO - Former HUD Secretary Julian CastroPotential presidential contender Julian Castro will speak at the Democratic Party of Oregon's ninth annual Wayne Morse Gala in Portland April 27.

Castro served as the 16th secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama. He has told multiple media outlets that he is interested in running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Castro "is a leader for a new generation of Democrats," said Jeanne Atkins, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. "He reflects an increasingly diverse and progressive Democratic Party."

Castro served at HUD beginning in 2014. His work there protecting fair housing and making other changes won HUD recognition as one of the most improved federal agencies.

He gained national attention in 2012 with a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

As mayor of San Antonio, Texas, in 2009, he was youngest mayor of a top-50 American city.

He serves on the board of directors of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation and Common Sense Media.

This year, he is helping to elect young, progressive Democrats in local and national elections through Opportunity First, a political action committee he founded in 2017. He also is writing a memoir, due out at the end of the year.

"In these troubling times, Oregon remains a progressive beacon of hope," Castro said in a statement Wednesday. "I'm honored to be joining Oregon Democrats at their annual gala to celebrate their recent victories and talk about our work ahead this fall to ensure that the 'blue wave' sweeps the U.S. to hold our leaders accountable."

The 'blue wave' refers to the unseating of Republicans in elected office by Democrats.

Since President Trump took office in January 2017, 39 state legislative seats across the country have "flipped" from Republican to Democrat, according to a recent count by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. The group assists in election campaigns for Democratic candidates seeking election to state legislatures.

Kevin Hoar, spokesman for the Oregon GOP, said turning more offices "blue" in Oregon would be counterproductive to restoring "fiscal sanity" to the state.

"The 'blue wave' already hit Oregon years ago, and our state is drowning in its blue floodwaters," Hoar said. "We've got the damaging and wasteful far-left policies to show for it."

For instance, he said, the Democrats have failed to solve the "appalling (Public Employees Retirement System) PERS debt crisis."

Named for the Oregon senator from 1945 to 1969, the Wayne Morris gala raises money for DPO to help elect Democrats, said Molly Woon, a party spokeswoman.

Morse was a convert to the Democratic Party of Oregon. He was elected as a Republican and later served as an independent and then, a Democrat.

The gala will be held at the Downtown Portland Hilton. For details, visit www.dpo.org/morse.